The History Of Rugs Around The World

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From the time people moved into caves there has been some sort of covering on the floor. The animal hides of the past are very different from the ones today, but in some countries it will still be a way to use the skin of the animal that has just been killed. There are a lot of other types of rugs however and they are made in a variety of ways and some have outstanding designs and weaves.

The History of Rugs
The art of weaving can be traced back more than 4,000 years and there are samples from Egypt and Mesopotamia from this time, while Asia and the Middle East have samples from 2,000 years ago. So far the rugs have been made just for use by the people who made them and in some cases to put in tombs, but it was in Asia were they realised how useful they were and began to make them in large numbers. Slowly the sheep farmers learned to weave the leftover wool and found it a better floor covering than a hide.

The Oldest Surviving Rug
A rug that has been considered to be the oldest in existence was discovered in Siberia. As you would imagine in that area it had been protected by ice and as a result in is in fairly good condition. It has been dated back to the 5th century and was made by knotting the thread. It had 200 knots per square inch and is considered to be a stunning example of Scythian art and was made by Mongolians or their descendants.
It may have been the Mongolians that began rug making, but it is the Persians who have made their name as a result of it. If you want a great rug it is very likely you will be looking at ones made in Persia. They will however not be to the same standard as one owned by the former King. Made of wool like many rugs, it also has gold, silver and precious stones entwined in to it. The cost to make the “Spring Carpet of Chosroes” is unknown but it was 100ft x 400ft and had been hand knotted. It has since been destroyed and nothing except the precious stones are known to still exist.
Reaching Europe
The Moorish influence in Spain led to them being the first European country known to make rugs and this was around the 12th and 13th Century. By Elizabethan times they had reached the United Kingdom and were replacing the straw that had previously been thrown on the floor. They brought a big increase in hygiene as animals were slowly moved out of the house so as they did not ruin the rugs.

The USA
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Rag rugs were commonplace in the United States and the art was transported from England with the early settlers. The oldest surviving ones date back to the 1770’s and where made from strips of rag. They were cheap and functional unlike their Persian counterparts. The reason few survive is that there were new ones made each year and the previous one was used in a variety of places before becoming compost.
Wooden flooring may be becoming more popular than carpet, but there will always be a place for a classy and well made rug.


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The History Of Rugs Around The World

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